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38 Studios Considers Rhode Island Move For $75 Million Loan

38 Studios Considers Rhode Island Move For $75 Million Loan

July 13, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

July 13, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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Curt Schilling may have been a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but the Maynard, MA games studio he founded might be looking at a move to Rhode Island. 38 Studios is looking at up to $75 million in loan guarantees if it makes the move, and studio officials are meeting with that state's Economic Development Corporation.

Schilling, who has said he invested the "majority" of his Major League Baseball earnings into 38 Studios, has been pushing for tax breaks that would allow high tech companies, including game developers like his, to remain in Massachusetts. But according to Boston.com, he's expressed a willingness to move house if incentives are on the table.

Estimates have pegged Schilling's career earnings at over $114 million dollars. The studio, originally founded in 2006, was begun with a $5 million cash injection; in 2008, its total compensation was $6.9 million while capital stood at $2.4 million. Schilling has said in the past he may not have started the company in the best climate, during a recession and prior to his official retirement from baseball in 2009.

While Massachusetts officials said they continue to work with 38 Studios to meet its needs, according to the report the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation said 38 Studios came to them first, seeking the $75 million loan guarantee.

38 Studios has been at work on its first project, an MMO currently titled Copernicus. In 2009, the company also acquired Rise of Nations and Catan house Big Huge Games; at the time, then-CEO Brett Close said the Big Huge team would continue to work on "some of their other projects" while also contributing their expertise to Copernicus. A few months after the acqiusition, Close announced his resignation from 38 Studios "to pursue other opportunities", as former SVP Jennifer MacLean stepped up to take his place.

Former Nintendo corporate affairs VP Denise Kaigler joined the company just a few months ago, and popular fantasy author R.A. Salvatore has also been working with the team. Schilling now says he plans to hire 300 new employees between 38 Studios' Massachusetts HQ and the Big Huge office in Maryland.

Rhode Island's economic development board will make a determination on whether to award the company the $75 million loan under its relief provisions for high-tech companies. Massachusetts has no such specific program, but possibilities for what it might offer 38 Studios include tax credits for the new workers Schilling wants to hire -- and the state stresses better access to talent there versus Rhode Island.


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